WikiLeaks has released some of the most damning evidence yet against the ongoing occuptions in Iraq and Afghanistan. For current news compiled about WikiLeaks, see wlcentral.org. To find out more about accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning, see bradleymanning.org.
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Amnesty International and the Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning Support Network initiated a petition on WhiteHouse.gov calling on Barack Obama to “grant clemency to Pvt. Bradley Manning.” The petition requires 100,000 signatures by September 20 for the White House to have to comment on it, or it will die. So far there are just over 24,000 signers.
We are almost 25% of the way to 100,000 signers, and must pick up momentum quickly. On Monday September 16, #PardonManning Day, will you sign the peititon, and do the work to be sure that 5 of your friends, family, or colleagues do so?
On August 21, amilitary judge handed down an outrageous sentence of 35 years in prison to Bradley Manning. Manning was convicted on multiple charges for his release to Wikileaks of thousands of computer files that contained damning, irrefutable evidence of U.S. atrocities, cover-ups, and deceit—in short, war crimes.
We are on the eve of Judge Lind’s sentencing of Bradley Manning. Protests are planned after the verdict is announced. Details on this are at the end of this article.
For context we should not forget that Obama, the man who promised “hope” and “change,” decided to charge Manning and ordered him kept in solitary isolation for nine months, subjecting him to conditions that the UN special rapporteur on torture labeled “cruel, inhuman and degrading,” as The Guardian reported on March 12, 2012:
I read your statement to the judge via an article I saw yesterday. I read it very carefully and a number of thoughts went through my mind about your apology… the most important thought being is that you have nothing to apologize for.
In your apology to the judge you mention the issues that you had to deal with at the time you decided to expose the crimes of our government. You mention you were going through a lot personally:
There is, and should be, serious debate and discussion of how Bradley Manning affected our world by transferring a trove of classified US documents revealing war crimes to Wikileaks in 2010, and of his apology for doing so yesterday, in the process of demanding that he do not one more second in prison.
Bradley Manning took courageous action aimed at stopping what were, and will always remain, war crimes in pursuit of unjust, immoral, illegitimate occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. He did much more than that, as Dennis Loo recaps in Because of Bradley Manning:
Because of Bradley Manning, we have Edward Snowden, who was inspired to come forward by Manning’s example;
Because of Bradley Manning, we know that most of the prisoners held at Guantanamo are innocent or low-level operatives and we have the identities and pictures of the prisoners held at Guantanamo who are now hunger striking (BradleyManning.org);
The critical moment in the political trial of the century was on 28 February when Bradley Manning stood and explained why he had risked his life to leak tens of thousands of official files. It was a statement of morality, conscience and truth: the very qualities that distinguish human beings. This was not deemed mainstream news in America; and were it not for Alexa O’Brien, an independent freelance journalist, Manning’s voice would have been silenced. Working through the night, she transcribed and released his every word. It is a rare, revealing document*.
Yesterday, the judge in Bradley Manning’s show trial found Manning guilty on nearly every charge but the most draconian of “aiding the enemy,” which could have brought the death penalty. If such a trial were going on in Russia today, what angle do you suppose we would hear from the U.S.’s major news outlets and from our highest public officials? That the Russian government was making sure to protect the welfare of the Russian people by going after spies out to harm the Russian people? Hardly. We'd be regaled with talk of how repressive and hypocritical Russia's leaders and system are.
Today Bradley Manning was convicted in a military "show trial" of espionage and theft charges for making available to the public classified documents evidencing US war crimes and bullying of other countries. He could be sentenced to 136 years in prison. The government’s prosecution aimed to make an example of Manning, imprisoning him under harsh conditions, and charging him with “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense, to intimidate others from standing up and speaking out against U.S. war crimes.
More than 60 of us filled the courtroom, and spilled into the overflow trailer, at Ft. Meade last Thursday (July 25). The chief prosecutor for the government, a sneering Major Fein, in closing argument called Bradley Manning a “traitor” for the first time, and also a “hacker,” an “anarchist,” and a “humanist who does not care about humans.”